NEWSWATCH

SEAWAY FOOD TOWN, Maumee, Ohio, said it has amended its articles of incorporation so that a simple majority of directors and shareholders, rather than a unanimous vote by the board and a two-thirds majority of shareholders, will be required to approve a merger or similar transaction. Richard B. Iott, president and chief executive officer, said the company has not received any such offers, nor is it

SEAWAY FOOD TOWN, Maumee, Ohio, said it has amended its articles of incorporation so that a simple majority of directors and shareholders, rather than a unanimous vote by the board and a two-thirds majority of shareholders, will be required to approve a merger or similar transaction. Richard B. Iott, president and chief executive officer, said the company has not received any such offers, nor is it soliciting such offers from anyone at the present time. He said the amendments were made "to provide adequate time for directors and management to properly consider any serious offers of a business combination that it might receive in the future."

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PENN TRAFFIC CO., Syracuse, N.Y., said last week it has closed three more of the 22 stores it said in December it was "holding for disposition." The stores are located in Pittston, Wilkes-Barre and Wyoming, Pa. The company sold nine of the 22 stores to two buyers in December. A spokesman said Penn Traffic has also closed an underperforming Quality Market in East Aurora, Pa., as part of its normal review of all locations.

GRUPO GIGANTE, Mexico City, reportedly plans to open up to six supermarkets over the next 12 months in East Los Angeles, an area with an overwhelmingly large Hispanic population, including many Mexican immigrants. SN has learned the company plans to open two stores in May, two more later in the year and two next January. Company officials could not be reached for comment last week.

BRUNO'S, Birmingham, Ala., now has until March 15 to submit a financial restructuring plan to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, the company told SN last week. As reported previously in SN, Bruno's, which has 164 stores in four southern states, has been operating as a debtor-in-possession under Chapter 11 for nearly one year. Bruno's exclusive right to submit a restructuring plan was set to expire last week, but the company filed for an extension, which was granted by the court.

PEAPOD, Skokie, Ill., an Internet grocery retailer, has consolidated its software-licensing business into the newly formed Split Pea Software, and spun off majority ownership of the new company. The transaction included Peapod's assignment of certain technology rights to Split Pea, including the perpetual license of Peapod's on-line grocery shopping and delivery systems. Split Pea, building on a licensing agreement that was completed during the fourth quarter of 1998 with Australian retailer Coles Myer Ltd., Tooronga, Australia, will focus its marketing efforts both domestically and internationally. John Burchard, formerly vice president of sales and service for Peapod's licensing business, has been named president of Split Pea Software.

RON BUCKLE, managing partner of Yucaipa Cos., Los Angeles -- a major shareholder in Fred Meyer Inc., Portland, Ore. -- said he filed a form last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission to limit his liability on a portion of the stock he owns. However, Burkle told SN he has no intention of selling or transferring ownership of the stock.

"This is something people with large holdings in one company do all the time to limit the potential downside in a fluctuating market," he explained. Burkle said his action involves about 3.5 million shares, or less than 25%, of his Fred Meyer holdings.